A downloadable Tabletop Game

Cog Sport is a submission for the OPR Game Jam #3, with the theme "Dual Purpose Design". It is a quick-playing small scale arena combat game for two players.

Designing around the theme proved to be both a challenge and interesting constraint.   A two-colored dice pool is core to design, and can be used not only to fuel the activation of abilities, but also to influence and seize initiative. Dice themselves have value not only in their numeric value, but in their color (positive or negative) as well as the patterns in which they appear with other dice in the pool.

The core combat mechanic allows a defender to strike back at the attacker, but potentially at the risk of incurring more damage, and utilizing resources that could also be used to activate abilities.  The central abilities of the games, the Sciences, are always activated with modifier dice that give both positive and negative impacts.  The player must choose if the momentary advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

One of the greatest challenges in the design was keeping the system tight.  I originally had a chassis selection system featuring light / medium / heavy chassis with different hitpoints, science slots, and movement rates, but removed it.  Also included was an Inventor subsystem for giving team-wide boosts.  While interesting, I felt that the cognitive load of the somewhat weird activation system was high enough on the player that these additional systems would prove to be distractions.

Game design influences include Yahtzee, Battletech, Infinity, Aristeia, and of course OPRs own games FTL and Sellswords.

Art assets used in the moodboard are not my own and include work by the following artists:

* Adam Paquette - Clockwork Warrior: https://www.deviantart.com/adampaquette/gallery
* One Page Rulse - Automa renders


OPR-GameJam-3-CogSport.pdf 357 kB
Cog-Sport-collage.jpg 3 MB


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Love the mod system on science and arts! Having negative and positive effects to make the options so diverse gives the game quite a lot of tactical depth. Plus having little steam punk robots play capture the flag would be so fun to watch. 

The only real issue I have is that the dice pools are hidden, and could be easy to... errr... "manipulate" in your favour. Do you think it would still work if the dice pools were visible to the players?

Great game overall I really like it!!

Glad you like the system -- thanks for giving it a read.  It was fun to work on!

Regarding the hidden dice pools, I think of them very much like a hand in a card game.  Part of the tension in activating an attack is not quite knowing what your opponent has to defend with.  Likewise, there is some depth from "feinting" with fives early in the turn, but holding a high die in reserve.  Or tempting the opponent into clustering their Automa knowing you hold a Massive modifier secreted away.

In the mood board I had an inspirational thought of dice cups that you would shake up, and invert, peek at with your hand as a shield, then place the cup back down to prevent manipulation.  Definitely not a fool proof system - the design certainly targets casual play and would be wildly unsuitable for tournaments. :)

I think actually using playing cards is a great idea. Use 3 packs of the same brand. Seperate Ace(1) to 6 of each suit from the packs and shuffle the black suits in one pile (negative), and the red suits in the other (positive). Both players draw from the same decks (3 from each) to keep things a bit random and boom! Also, 36 cards in each deck means there's 6 of each result which keeps things similar to the d6 system. 

Keeps the big reveal idea and would prevent chumps like myself being tempted to cheat. Haha.